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Israel, Eschatology, and War Crimes

You might not think it possible, but an erroneous eschatology has caused
its adherents to actively support the organized oppression of innocent
peoples in the Middle East. Israel’s existence as a nation is thought by many
people, especially fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, to be the
fulfillment of God’s plan for the Last Days.
The term eschatology is a theological term, which comes from the Greek
word eschatos, meaning: last. Christians who hold to what is known as pre-
millennial eschatology believe the world is getting worse and that Christ’s
second coming is soon at hand. They also believe the sudden appearance of
Christ will initiate what is known as the Rapture of the Church, which could
occur at any moment.
No one can really understand the problems in the Middle East without a
working knowledge of the area’s history and religions. Christians who adhere
to pre-millennial eschatology support Israel’s right to exist in the Middle East
because they believe that God (in the Bible) has promised the Holy Land to
Israel. Fundamentalist Jews, which include many Israeli settlers, also believe
this to be true; although their eschatology is much different from that of the
Christians. The one commonly held belief between fundamentalist Jews and
Christians, as it expresses itself today, is the belief that the geographical area
traditionally known as Palestine doesn’t belong to the Palestinians; it belongs
to the Jews.
Few people are aware of the history of the modern incarnation of the
nation of Israel, which began in Britain during the early twentieth century.
Zionism was a mostly secular movement of people who wanted to occupy
what was once the land of Israel in an area that has traditionally been known
as Palestine.
Britain elicited the Arab nations to help them fight against Germany
during World War I, during which time they also promised the Arabs control
over the Holy Land after the war. What Britain didn’t tell the Arabs was that
they had no intention of giving control of the Holy Land to the Arabs, because
they had already promised it to the Zionists for the building of their new
homeland nation of Israel. The Balfour Declaration deeded the land to the
Zionist and the Arabs, especially the Palestinians, were going to be forced off
their land so that it could now be occupied by Jews.
Israel didn’t officially become a nation until shortly after World War II
when, in 1947, Israel gained its independence from the British protectorate.
Israel’s first Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, had led a terrorist group,
known as the Irgun, in a campaign of violent politically motivated terrorist
attacks in order to convince the British that the Holy Land wasn’t worth the
trouble the Irgun was causing them, especially after the Irgun’s bombing of
the King David Hotel. Israel’s troubles with its neighbors began immediately
and have continued ever since. The native population of the Holy Land, the
Palestinians, had their land stolen, were forced to relocate, and ended up
living in refugee camps.
To this day, Israeli settlers continue to build their homes on land stolen
from the Palestinians. Forced into refugee camps, the Palestinian people live
out a meager and miserable existence in the squalor of those camps. Gaza,
the largest of the Palestinian refugee camps, was recently subjected to what
can only be described as the brutal and merciless slaughter of thousands of
its inhabitant by Israel’s military forces.
How, I wonder, can anyone support the nation of Israel? The U. S. has
traditionally been a strong supporter of Israel and continues to be to this day.
President Obama, however, appears to be less enthusiastic a supporter than
the Israel supporters would like for him to be. I’m glad the president’s not an
enthusiastic supporter of Israel, and I wish the U. S. would stop supporting
what amounts to a criminally oppressive and murderous regime.
If we ever want to see peace in the Middle East, Israel is going to have to
go. The problem is that Israel will never go without a fight and the U. S. is
pledged to go into this fight with Israel if necessary. But why allow the
actions of a nation that is both in the wrong and a half a world away dictate
U. S. foreign policy regarding Israel’s neighbors? Are they our enemies simply
because they’re Israel’s enemies? Could it be that by supporting Israel we are
supporting the oppression of an innocent people group to the point of doing
nothing to help them as they were being slaughtered in Gaza? I find the
whole situation shameful and disgusting. Frankly I wish the U. S. would cut
Israel loose.